Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013, at 5:55 a.m. ET | Last modified, Mon., Sept. 23 at 11:20 a.m. ET
In 1988, a 26-year-old Bill de Blasio went to Nicaragua—then mired in a vicious civil war between the Sandinista government and the U.S.-backed Contras—to help distribute food and medicine as part of a relief campaign organized by the Quijote Center, a social justice group based in Maryland. According to New York Times' Javier C. Hernández, de Blasio returned home with a vision of the possibilities of an unfettered leftist government:
As he seeks to become the next mayor of New York City, Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, has spoken only occasionally about his time as a fresh-faced idealist who opposed foreign wars, missile defense systems and apartheid in the late 1980s and early 1990s. References to his early activism have been omitted from his campaign Web site.
But a review of hundreds of pages of records and more than two dozen interviews suggest his time as a young activist was more influential in shaping his ideology than previously known, and far more political than typical humanitarian work.
Mr. de Blasio had studied Latin American politics at Columbia University and was conversational in Spanish. And as many other liberal youth in the 1980s, he was a fervent admirer of the Sandinistas, denounced by the Reagan Administration as Communists and regarded by progressives around the world as true revolutionaries who wanted to build a more just society after decades of despotic, pro-American rule.
Read more at the New York Times.